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How to Find the Best Plumbing Vocational School near Goodyear Arizona

Goodyear Arizona plumbing contractor repairing sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Goodyear AZ. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are so many variables to examine. For instance, some prospective students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have located several that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the only factors that must be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your ultimate judgment when picking a plumbing trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are offered.

Becoming a Plumber

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Almost everyone at one time or another has needed the services of a professional plumber.  It may have been due to a leaky faucet or perhaps a hot water heater needed to be replaced.  Plumbers provide a valuable service for the maintenance of both commercial and residential buildings.  They are skilled tradesmen who are trained in the installation, repair and replacement of plumbing systems.  These systems include pipes, plumbing fixtures, water based heating and cooling, sewage removal and sprinklers.  A local Goodyear AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Goodyear AZ plumbers begin their careers as an Apprentice.  Apprenticeships are often completed in tandem with a formalized plumbing training program.  Apprentices are typically paid but unlicensed and work under the guidance of a licensed plumber during working hours and attend plumber training classes at night.  The second phase of their career begins once the apprenticeship and the training program have been completed.
  • Journeyman Plumber. Once the apprenticeship has been completed as well as any required training program, application for Journeyman Plumber licensing can be made.  Most often licensing is controlled by the state but can be managed more locally at the county or city level.  A Journeyman license will only be issued after all requirements have been met, including a passing score on the licensing exam. Even though a Journeyman is more knowledgeable and experienced than an Apprentice, they generally must continue to be supervised, in this case by a Master Plumber.
  • Master Plumber. After attaining the necessary work experience and completing any additional educational requirements, the Journeyman can apply to become a Master Plumber.  Once again a passing score must be achieved on the licensing exam before a license will be issued.  There are several benefits to advancing to the Master Plumber level, including earnings at the highest pay level, unsupervised working conditions, and the ability to start and own a business.  Master Plumbers may also hire and supervise both Journeymen and Apprentices.

As a technical field requiring a high level of skill and competence, plumbing can take years of both training and experience to master.  As a consequence, the best opportunity for success for a new Apprentice in Goodyear AZ is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.

Plumbing Degree and Certificate Options

There are several educational options available near Goodyear AZ to receive the necessary training to begin your career as a plumber.  As far as the schools offering programs, you can enroll in a trade, technical or vocational school as well as a local community college.  The programs offered will vary, but in general the shortest is the certificate program which will focus on the fundamentals and generally take about a year to complete.  An Associate Degree will take 2 years to complete and will provide a more comprehensive education.  There are some colleges that do offer a Bachelor Degree in plumbing technology, which are 4 year programs and much broader in nature.  When choosing a school and program, naturally the completion time and the cost will be important factors.  Tuition can vary significantly among the various schools and colleges and for some private schools can be quite expensive.  State schools and community colleges typically offer their programs at the lower end of the tuition scale.  However, when making your comparisons, keep in mind that many schools offer financial aid and even scholarships to help offset some of the financial burden.  So be sure to find out what is available for each school and program before making your final decision.

Questions to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools

Goodyear Arizona plumbing contractor repairing water heater

Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Because there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Goodyear AZ area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other factors that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze before selecting a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing vocational programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Goodyear AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education.  If you’re not sure, ask the school which state agency is responsible for its licensing and then check to ensure that it’s up to date.

How Long has the School been in Business?  Another means of determining the quality of a technical school is to find out how long it’s been in business.  The longer a school has been in operation, the more likely that its programs are highly rated and regarded. Conversely, schools that are not well regarded or that provide low quality training generally don’t stand the test of time.  However, keep in mind that even the best of Goodyear AZ schools had to start from their first day of operation, so only use it as one of several qualifications for each school you are considering.

What are the School’s Completion and Placement Rates?  Ask the plumbing schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Goodyear AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Goodyear AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Goodyear AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Goodyear AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Goodyear AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, confirm that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Goodyear Plumbing Vocational Schools

Choose the Right Goodyear Plumber Training School

Picking the right plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumber tech school that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Goodyear AZ.